Defensible Power Metal: Magic Kingdom

As I once wrote in an old issue of Decibel, give one positive review of a Fairyland album, and you’re branded for life. It’s not as if I ever thought I had much credibility among readers to begin with, but that review had to obliterate any underground cred I had left. But I stand by that review all these years later. Besides, if Decibel is an extreme metal magazine, what’s more extreme than outlandish, bombastic European power metal? It fits.

There’s good new power metal out there to discover, but it’s one of the most difficult metal subgenres to get right. Every aspect of the music is cranked to the hilt – melody, speed, technicality, theatrics, song structure – and it can so easily fly off the rails when in inept hands. Which brings me back to Fairyland, because that band used to have a strong connection to Belgian band Magic Kingdom, whose fourth album Savage Requiem is out now on AFM Records.

What makes Magic Kingdom so cool, save for that band name, which is very nearly as embarrassing as Fairyland, is that guitarist Dushan Petrossi strikes a very impressive balance between classic proto-power metal that references Helloween and Blind Guardian, and American speed metal of the mid-1980s. As a result the tunes are plenty flamboyant, bolstered with happy, soaring vocal melodies, but are rooted in that harder, more aggressive, thrashy sound. The band name might be weak – it’s a wonder Disney hasn’t sued these guys – but the music isn’t. Give it a shot; listen to “With Fire and Sword” below.